first_img ‘Star Wars Pinball’ Has Your Favorite Brand in Ball Form‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ Was Final Mission From Late Nintendo President Goodbye, NX. Hello, Nintendo Switch. Next March, Nintendo’s next console arrives, and we finally have some idea just what the heck it is. And you know what that means. Hot takes!Based on internet reactions, it seems like folks are stoked for the Nintendo Switch. Granted, we’re happy just being able to see the darn thing, but overall everyone but the most reflexively cynical members of the gaming community appear receptive to Nintendo’s unique blend of console and portable gaming hardware.There’s a lot going on with this device, so people are excited for a variety of reasons. But all of my Nintendo Switch hype leads back to one realization. The Nintendo Switch represents decades of hardware ideas and expertise crystallized at last into one device. It’s Nintendo’s final form.Our post on the Switch’s debut runs down the specific details we know about the machine, but here’s an overview. The Nintendo Switch is a video game console/portable hybrid. The main body is a tablet featuring two detachable Joy-Con controllers, one on each side. Players can use the device on the go alone and with friends, or place it in a special dock to run Switch games on their television. The Switch is also compatible with more traditional Pro Controllers.With apologies to the Nvidia Shield and Gamevice, the Nintendo Switch immediately stands out as a fresh piece of kit in a video game industry racing toward homogenization. In the reveal video, the controllers click into place with the satisfaction of playing with a Transformers toy, but the device is the slickest and most stylish consumer electronic Nintendo and its Apple envy have made yet. It’s modern. However, once you start to break it down, it’s also a Greatest Hits of past Nintendo hardware ideas.The Switch is portable, a video game hardware category Nintendo practically invented with the Game Boy. It uses cartridges, like the NES and other classic consoles. The detached Joy-Con controllers resemble Wii remotes, and you can also use them sideways. Instead of a D-pad, the left Joy-Con has C buttons like an N64 controller. Holding two Joy-Con controllers separate from the tablet looks like holding a Wii remote and nunchuk, since your hands aren’t uncomfortably cramped together. The table-TV interplay recalls the Wii U or even the GameCube/Game Boy Advance link cable, but in a more sensible way. And ever since the Super Game Boy on the SNES Nintendo has provided ways to let you play portable games on your TV.Having all of these different attributes in one device might make it unwieldy and unfocused. Arguably that confusion is what doomed the Wii U. But with Switch, the disparate ideas are all streamlined into servicing one grand unified philosophy, embodied by the name and red (not gray) Zen logo. The Switch’s heavily modular design allows you to play any game in any context. It’s kind of brilliant.Relaxing on the couch alone? Play on the TV. Inviting friends over? Whip out more controllers. Want to take it with you while walking the dark in the park? You can. Want to play with your hip young friends on the go? Prop up the kickstand and break off the controllers. Love Nintendo games like Mario Kart and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and hot new eSport Splatoon? We’ve got them. How about sports games and AAA blockbusters like Skyrim? Now they’re portable. Mobile games shouldn’t be hard to pull off since it’s already a tablet. Aside from maybe the most graphically demanding mouse and keyboard-driven PC game, I can’t think of a game genre that couldn’t translate to Switch virtually unmolested.I used to balk at the idea of the one console future, and I still think first-party gaming companies are too prideful to ever let a single machine for all video games become a reality. However, I do think the Nintendo Switch demonstrates the value of such a device as the be all and end all Nintendo console. Consider of all the problems it elegantly solves. Free from the console/handheld dichotomy Nintendo can now focus all of its considerable creative talent toward developing games for one machine, a machine with a variety of uses that can support a variety of game types.Even if the impressive list of third parties Nintendo, as usual, trotted out to express support for the platform predictably vanish, Nintendo alone can make more than enough excellent software to support one device. The back catalog alone of a potential Switch Virtual Console could make it a must-own console, an improvement from the NES Classic Mini and an important move for games preservation.If the Nintendo Switch is the last Nintendo console we’ll never need, this generational transition is certainly the right time for it. I’ve already written about how the idea of video game consoles dying might itself be dying. Instead of restarting each generation with radically new machines, Sony and Microsoft have begun incrementally upgrading their existing machines with the PS4 Pro and Xbox Scorpio. The Nintendo Switch, at least this version of it, won’t rival with those boxes in terms of power. But as a platform it could easily adopt a similar model.The Switch’s core concept is such a solid foundation I’d love to see future models that build one it, ones that keep the same idea while introducing more power or extra functionality like dedicated handheld or TV versions. Speculation (mostly debunked) suggests the base station contains its own processors to enhance performance. Imagine a future base station that can run VR and comes with a headset you can slot the tablet in Google Daydream style? The possibilities of the Switch are broad enough I don’t want Nintendo to abandon it for something drastically different anytime soon or maybe even ever. As much as I’ve enjoyed past Nintendo consoles, up to and including the underrated Wii U, I could say that about any of them.Of course, plenty of questions (and rumors) remain. The information we’ve learned is promising, but limited. The Nintendo Switch still has plenty of chances to disappoint, even if a console that plays Mario could only be so bad. Here are some things we’re still desperate to learn about the device.What are the specs of the custom Nvidia Tegra chip? All we really know is that it took “500 man-years” to develop.How durable is the handheld? Previous Nintendo machines were nearly unbreakable, but they also weren’t explicitly designed to break apart.Will it be backwards compatible with anything? Will it be region locked? We’re pretty sure the answer for both is no but it’d be nice to have a confirmation.Does it have a multi-touch screen or any kind of touch screen? Do the Joy-Cons support rumble and motion controls? What about a camera or a mic? Those features are so expected and so cheap they have to be in there, right?What’s the battery life like? The Switch is powerful enough to need a fan. How long will it actually last as a portable device?Does the dock add any additional power?What will the online features be? It sounds like Nintendo accounts have finally be unified but what social features can we expect? Achievements? A subscription service? MIIVERSE?!?How will it handle digital games? Can we store them on SD cards like on the 3DS? What will the digital storefront be like? Will the Virtual Console be improved?Will it interact with mobile devices at all? DeNA, Nintendo’s mobile partner, is listed as a developer. Will Super Mario Run make an appearance. Will Pokemon Go?What will it cost and what will come in the box? What other accessories will be available? Extra controllers? Spare docks?Most importantly, what are the launch games and what’s coming out in the future?There’s a climactic feeling to the Nintendo Switch that I find very appealing. It’s like all roads have led to this, a product as thesis statement for Nintendo’s place in gaming at this moment and in the context of history. It’ll also play Smash Bros., so of course I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Stay on targetlast_img

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